Students collaborate on ‘monster art’
A nearly three-month project culminated on Thursday at Langston Elementary Leadership Academy, where 88 kindergarten students were shown a re-imagined interpretation of their monster artwork in pottery form.
As part of a collaboration process between the students, and seventh- and eighth-graders at Hot Springs Junior Academy, the elementary students were invited to draw monsters in their art classes before HSJA pottery students later put their own creative spin on the drawings with clay.
Adding technology into the mix as well, students in HSJA’s EAST initiative — an acronym for education accelerated by service and technology — filmed the entire process for a documentary they plan to enter into the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
At a special presentation Thursday, HSJA students joined their young collaborators at Langston where they invited them to find their original drawing and match it with the clay-sculpted version.
Langston visual arts teacher Jamie Huisman said HSJA art teacher Natalie Miller contacted her last fall about doing the monster project.
“It’s something that we’ve seen other schools do, and so she asked that we make monsters. I had my kindergartners … I had different examples up for them, and they used their imagination and made their own kind of monster … whatever they wanted,” she said.
The monsters were drawn in multiple colors, shapes and sizes, based on their own unique ideas. Using new techniques with the students’ original creative context, the older students helped show the younger ones how their work can help spark creativity in others, by re-creating the artwork with clay.
After molding the pottery monsters, they were painted by hand to resemble the original drawings. EAST students documented the journey,
including the firing of pieces in the kiln.
“And then they came to us, all the monster pictures, and my kids put tracing paper over them to get like the general outline of the monster,” said Miller. “They made them all out of clay and put them in the kiln, and when they came out, they just used regular paints instead of glaze. And they tried to paint them exactly the way the kindergartners colored them. Even if it was scribbles, they used the paint to just kind of scribble it on.”
HSJA EAST facilitator Aspen Ham said two of her students are in pottery and they worked together to coordinate the collaboration.
“One of my students has been working on filming different parts of the process from the art side in the classroom with all of the modeling and the painting going on, and then she’s going to be filming (Thursday) as well get more footage to enter into the documentary film festival for the student shorts part,” she said.
Around 17 students from HSJA participated in the project.
Huisman said her four kindergarten classes started on the drawings the week after Thanksgiving.
“My students, I only get them once a week, so we drew all of our monsters the week after Thanksgiving and I took them over there that week,” she said.
Miller said each of her students took about five monsters.
“And they were doing it at the same time as another project,” she said. “So we work on the monsters once a week, work on the other project once a week, and after a few mishaps — we’ve had some broken monsters, we’ve had a whole kiln-full of exploded monsters — we finally got it done.”